Must I Apply

If you answer Yes to all of the following questions, you must complete an HSRB application.

1. Are you an RWU student (graduate or undergraduate) or member of the RWU faculty or staff or will your research involve working with individuals who are members of the Roger Williams University community?

2. Are you conducting original research?

  • original research is a systematic investigation designed to expand generalizable knowledge or understanding. This includes pilot studies and feasibility studies. Activities included in the category of original research include data collected and analyzed from surveys, questionnaires, interviews, observation, manipulation and experimentation.

3. Are you working with human subjects?

  • human subject in the context of original research is a living person about whom a researcher obtains either personal data through interaction with the individual or private information.
  • interaction includes contact (including observational studies) or communication with the individual, manipulation of the participant or the participant's environment.
  • private information includes information which will not be made public, or collected within a context in which an individual would not otherwise expect to be observed or recorded (such as in their home).

Please keep in mind that independent student research is subject to HSRB approval. Faculty members providing oversight and acting in the role of research supervisors on all student projects are listed as Principal Investigator. Students who conduct research as part of a regular course assignment need not submit a proposal, unless the instructor chooses to invite HSRB review. Even in this case, each faculty member who engages in such instructional activities is expected to maintain professional standards in accordance with their respective field, to protect any human subject. 

The following activities are not considered original research and therefore do not require HSRB approval.

  • any research that deals completely and exclusively with secondary sources
  • activities in which human subjects perform exclusively for instructional purposes (however, keep in mind that the intent or attempt to publish data from these types of activities at any time converts theses activities to original research involving human subjects) and is subject to a different level of review. 
  • data gathered to support fund raising by campus fund raising offices, market research for admissions recruitment, recruiting efforts by faculty and staff, data collected for institutional affairs, and any research gauging attitudes among parents, alumni, and students
  • journalism
  • oral history

If you have any question about whether your study falls into one of these categories please contact the HSRB Chair at